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Best Used Subarus: Which Models and Years Are Most Reliable?

Best Used Subarus Models Years Most Reliable - Red Mountain Funding Mesa AZ

If you want reliability and affordability from your next automobile purchase, then Subaru is one automaker you should not ignore. Several Subaru models from various years offer tremendous value.

Consider your options carefully whenever you plan to purchase a vehicle, and refer to the following list to learn more about your possible options from Subaru.

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This was originally posted November 6, 2018 and was updated February 12, 2020.

Benefits of Buying Used Subarus

Subaru is popular for standard all-wheel drive in its most popular models, as well as for fantastic cost of ownership. Subarus are reliable, versatile and offer a wide range of customization with new purchases.

However, they are also tremendously valuable as preowned purchases. If you’re looking for a great brand of used car to buy, Subaru should definitely make your list of top automakers.


Subaru Legacy

The Subaru Legacy has been one of the most popular sedans in America for many years. Since its original launch in 1990, the Legacy has improved across the board with every new model year. Anyone who needs a reliable and spacious sedan will likely find the Legacy to be a great value.

Best Legacy Model Years

Models from the early 2000s should be much cheaper than more recent used models, but they will still offer fantastic value for many years.

The 2015 model in particular actually won the Canadian Car of the Year award for outstanding quality, but any model year after 2005 is ideal for a preowned car purchase. This ensures a combination of great value and savings compared to more expensive models in recent years.

2015 Subaru Legacy

2015 Subaru Legacy


Subaru Impreza

2010 Subaru Impreza, wide-body coupe

2010 Subaru Impreza, wide-body coupe

The Subaru Impreza is a quick, reliable vehicle available in several styles. The wide-body coupe model from the early 2000s offers up to 165 horsepower along with the reliability that comes with the Subaru brand.

Sedan models are spacious without sacrificing the renowned maneuverability of these light and quick cars. There are also sport models available with a variety of options and configurations, so you are sure to find a great Impreza while shopping for preowned vehicles.

Best Impreza Model Years

One of the best benefits of the Subaru Impreza is variety. If you’re looking for something practical and reliable, a sedan model from the mid- to late-2000s could be ideal.

If you’re looking for something sportier, the Impreza Sport could be perfect for you.

There are also wagon models with additional storage space, a perfect fit for families.


Subaru WRX

The Subaru WRX is actually a variation of the Impreza with more horsepower. The WRX contains a 2.5 liter Flat 4 Boxer engine, boasting a tremendous 300 horsepower.

The WRX is a fan favorite in the rally car and dirt racing circuits, and is treasured by Subaru enthusiasts.

Best WRX Model Years

One of the great attributes of the Subaru WRX is that even models from the 1990s – if well kept – offer incredible value. If you enjoy sportier vehicles and want an affordable used car that can compete with newer makes and models on the road, WRX models from the 2000s are relatively inexpensive and reliable.

2010 Subaru Impreza WRX

2010 Subaru Impreza WRX


Subaru Outback

2009 Subaru Outback

2009 Subaru Outback

The Subaru Outback has been one of the most popular wagon-style vehicles in the United States for many years. The Outback is generally more expensive than other wagon-style vehicles from Subaru, but it offers tremendous versatility.

Many Outback owners enjoy that the vehicle’s off-road capability and storage space don’t detract from modern comforts and passenger seating space.

Best Subaru Outback Years

Subaru Outback models from the 2000s offer spacious interiors, solid off-road performance, and high marks across the board when it comes to overall performance and value. While the Outback may be more expensive than another Subaru model of the same year, it’s crucial to compare what’s under the hood before deciding.


Subaru Forester

The “big brother” of the Subaru Outback is the impressive Subaru Forester, a heavy-duty SUV offering more towing power and storage space than the smaller Outback.

Models from before the 2009 model year are very similar to the wagon-style Outback, while 2009 and newer models are larger SUVs.

Best Subaru Forester Years

While older Foresters still offer fantastic value and reliability, models made after the 2009 redesign year made improvements to stability control, visibility and interior comfort without sacrificing performance.

The 2014 redesign offered even more improvements, including the turbocharged XT model, navigational system, automatic emergency braking and improved safety features.

2014 Subaru Forester

2014 Subaru Forester


 

Why Buy Used?

There are distinct advantages to buying a brand-new vehicle. A new car buyer will generally get to enjoy the manufacturer’s warranty coverage and the peace of mind of owning a hot-off-the-assembly-line vehicle.

However, there are some distinct disadvantages to buying brand new. First, you may not know that your brand-new vehicle contains a defect that will appear months or even years later, leading to frustration and potentially costly repairs.

Used vehicles typically have been through one or more extensive inspection processes. And, keep in mind that most defects appear soon after launch. When you buy a preowned vehicle, you can rest assured (in most cases) that the manufacturer has already identified and addressed any defects.

Buying new is significantly more expensive than buying used. If the thought of “you get what you pay for” is giving you pause on a preowned vehicle purchase, keep in mind that Subaru has a reputation as one of the most reliable makes you can buy.

 If you have your heart set on an affordable and reliable Subaru that will last for many years to come, Red Mountain Funding can help you secure a loan for the vehicle from any Arizona dealership.

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How the Subaru Brand Stacks Up When It Comes to Reliability

When most people go shopping for vehicles, reliability is one of their top concerns. However, “reliability” may mean different things to different people. For some, reliability means consistent performance for a long time with minimal need for repairs. For others, reliability means ease of ownership, low yearly maintenance costs, and acceptable resale value. So, are Subarus reliable? That might depend on your definition, but the brand has received numerous awards and recognitions over the years for its general reliability, low long-term cost of ownership, and high performance.

Everything You Need to Know About Subaru Reliability

If you’re looking for a great balance of value and performance with a relatively low risk of maintenance issues during the first few years of owning your next vehicle, Subaru is a great choice. In 2019, Consumer Reports ranked Subaru #1 in overall performance and value. However, Consumer Reports also tracks reliability in terms of repair issues and yearly maintenance cost, and Subaru actually slid down five spots in the rankings from the previous year, ranking #7 in overall reliability for 2019.

While this may seem to be a counterpoint against the long-standing reputation of Subaru reliability, the lower reliability score from Consumer Reports for 2019 is due to the introduction of new and redesigned vehicle models. Many people shopping for vehicles prefer new vehicles as a kneejerk reaction; “new” often correlates with “high value,” but it may be a better investment to choose a used Subaru from a previous model year with low mileage. If you want a reliable Subaru, many models from the past several years have achieved high rankings from some of the most respected automobile reviewing agencies in the world.

Which Is the Best Subaru Model?

You may be wondering, “Should I buy a Subaru Legacy or Impreza,” as these models are some of the most popular Subarus and offer well-rounded ranges of features. However, you shouldn’t approach this question in terms of trying to find the “best Subaru,” but rather which Subaru model is the best fit for you.

2017 Subaru Legacy

2017 Subaru Legacy

2018 Subaru Impreza

2018 Subaru Impreza

Subaru manufactures a wide range of vehicles that each have unique advantages. If you’re looking for something that will handle your daily commute with minimal fuss year after year, Subaru is known for making some of the most reliable sedans, such as the Impreza and the Legacy. If you need a sturdy family vehicle that can handle soccer practice drop-offs as well as long hauls to summer campgrounds, the Subaru Forester and Subaru Outback are great options. Take time to compare Subaru models to find the best fit for you, and then take some time to research past year models to determine which used Subaru could provide the most long-term value.

2018 Subaru Outback

2018 Subaru Outback

2018 Subaru Forester

2018 Subaru Forester

Subaru Reliability Ratings Slide in Recent Years

Subaru’s long reputation as an incredibly reliable brand and perceived as one of the best automobile manufactures gives it high marks. Unfortunately, Subaru’s quality has declined in the past few years for several reasons, one being a well-known head gasket issue that lead to engine problems for many Subaru models produced between 2003 and 2009. A used Subaru with detailed maintenance records will be a good indication that the car has been properly taken care of and a head gasket concern won’t arise. However, a car without these records may put you at a greater risk for that blown gasket. It is best to proceed with caution and always insist on a detailed multi-point inspection before a purchase. If you’re planning to buy a used Subaru, and limit your search to models from more recent years, typically from 2013 and newer, there’s minimal need for reliability unease. The 2020 Subaru lineup is quite impressive, with the new BRZ topping the performance charts and earning awards for great value, but you will pay more for a new car.

Repair Pal can be a great resource if you’re looking for more detailed information about the long-term cost of ownership of a vehicle. This site aggregates a Reliability Rating based on the frequency of repair issues, the average cost of repairs, and the severity of the issues repaired. Subaru currently ranks 3.5 out of 5 in terms of overall Reliability Rating, and upon closer inspection of the details behind this report, you’ll discover that despite some recent issues, Subaru still maintains exceptionally high reliability scores in comparison to national averages.

According to Repair Pal, the Subaru Crosstrek has a reliability rating of 4.5 out of 5, which ranks it 1st out of 26 for compact SUVs. 

2018 Subaru Crosstrek

2018 Subaru Crosstrek

What to Expect From Your Used Subaru

After taking some time to research your options and the known issues for recent model years of Subaru vehicles, you can probably choose one or two models that interest you. If you want to get maximum value out of your used vehicle purchase, you should work with a trusted dealer and ask the right questions to make sure any known issues with the vehicle you’ve chosen have been addressed.

Related Reading: What Do You Need To Consider Before Buying A Used Car?

A well-maintained Subaru can last well over 300,000 miles, provide a fantastic return on your initial investment, and offer years of reliability. As long as you avoid some common bad habits that are true for any vehicle and use your vehicle with care, a used Subaru can last much longer than you might expect.Apply For Financing Online Today